Racing games are a guilty pleasure of mine. You can enjoy a drive in the country, or in the city, without wasting real world time and gas. But finding a good racing game is hard for me. I’m not into the ultra realistic simulation of a game like Forza, but sometimes the ultra arcade feel of a game like Cruisin’ USA or Mario Kart leaves you wanting something more than just cartoony racing. What side of the coin does Grid 2 fall on? Read on to find out.
Booting up Grid 2 you get a really nice logo screen and 2 options, World Series Racing, and Grid Online. These are basically your offline and online game modes. Going into World Series Racing takes you to your offline modes, which is really just 1 big racing series that you’re competing in. Starting the mode you’re immediately thrown into a race. Once that race is done you’re sent to a practice course where you can learn your controls better and the current car you’re using. It’s interesting how Codemasters approached this, because instead of having separate modes you can pick and choose from, everything is integrated into this racing series storyline. Your practice, your alternate game modes, actual racing, everything has a purpose within this story mode, and the purpose is fans. You’re trying to gain fans to move up the ladder and make it into the WSR, World Series Racing. Once you’re in the WSR you’re still working on getting fans, while appeasing your sponsors.
Many things can be done from your main menu in the game dashboard. Everything you need is in there, options, vehicle select, sponsor select, how you want to paint your car. Everything is done from this menu. Once you get your cars situated and what not to how you want, you’re ready to get your racing on. Tracks are mostly based in America, usually Chicago, at first, but as you advance they get a little harder. Your races depend on “invitations.” So as you get invites to these exclusive races, you’ll gain fame and fans, and move up the ranks and what not. It’s pretty easy mode to understand once you get in it.
On the other end of the spectrum is Grid online. There’s not much to explain here, a few of the offline races and modes carry over, and you get to race people online. I didn’t notice much lag, but be prepared to crash…and crash a lot. One saving grace, in both offline and online is the rewind feature. You start off with 5 rewinds, and what this does is; if you crash, or just spin out on a turn, you can rewind and attempt to not screw it up. This is a very broken feature and that’s why you only get 5 of them. Now, while it works well in offline mode, and rewinds the whole race, online it only works on you, and sends you back a few seconds than having the option of stopping the rewind where you want it, like in offline. Rewind comes in very handy online, as I experienced a lot of spin-outs, and people running me off the road.
Visually, this game is great. The cars look beautiful, and with the fact you can customize paint jobs to be glossy, or metallic, or just matte, a lot of cars can look very different from one another even though they’re the same make and model. Couple this with some of the greatest realistic looking damage I’ve seen since Burnout 3 (I never played 4 or Paradise) and this really makes you feel like you’re in a real race. And when I say realistic damage I mean, I was racing on a rim. No tire, just rim. I’ve seen car doors fly off, hoods fly off, fenders laying in the street, it’s amazing. And, yes, you can still race on one rim, but you won’t break 100 mph.
Gameplay wise, it’s almost like a car RPG. You level up, get more cars, get more fans, get more popular. There’s not a lot of things you have a say in. You can choose whether to skip the alternate race invitations, like Promo races, and Vehicle Challenges. Vehicle Challenges are where you can win a car, and Promo races help advance you a little further for more main races. But as a racing game, it’s all pretty standard. The sound quality of the game is very good. You can hear the fans cheer for you, the roars of the engines. Standard racing stuff, but still enjoyable to hear.
I can’t say I have many gripes about the game. If you have multiple game saves, you can’t back out to choose another save, so you need to completely back out of the game and restart. Aside from that, the effort to upload races, or highlights to YouTube can be really tedious, and takes a good long while, followed by about a 15-20 minute upload time, depending on your internet connection. The real down part of uploading a race or highlight to YouTube is that, it has to be under a minute, and if you’re cropping the race to show a highlight, the rewind/fast forwarding is done in real time, instead of being sped up. It takes a while to do highlights.
Overall, This is a really good racing game. It doesn’t have the vehicle depth or realism that Forza and Gran Turismo have, or the over the top, arcade quality like a Mario Kart, but it’s good. It’s really good. If you’re just looking for a racing game to mess around with on a weekend, or on your downtime, this is it.